By T-Ann Pierce
The last thing I remember was the entire bar singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of their lungs. Then my world went black.
Last weekend, the high winds stranded me in DC for the weekend. Happily, my 30-year-old cousin, James, was in DC for the week, too. We decided to get together Friday night.
After dinner, we went to a bar where they play all the anthems you mustn’t sing, you must belt out. We were having so much fun.
Until we were drugged.
We both lost our memories about the same time. We left the bar, wandering around, not having the faculties to call an Uber. We were held up and robbed.
I have a flash of a memory: me crying, repeating, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ My arms are bruised (bracelets missing and broken) where someone grabbed me hard, forcing me to divulge passwords. I didn’t know mine. James gave them his. He has no recollection of this.
The men left with everything we had: wallets, phones, my eyeglasses.
James remembers sitting me on the front stoop of a home while he pounded on doors. Another flash of a memory: I was alone and worried about James. I wandered off to look for him.
He came back with help. I was nowhere to be found. He then, wandered in the cold and the dark looking for me.
My memory comes back as a car approaches. I have enough awareness now to know getting into a stranger’s car is sure death, but I cannot run. I am unable to move.
A man approaches.
He approached me slowly like you would approach an injured and scared animal. He spoke gently. My Good Samaritan. I trusted him and by the grace of God, he took me to the police.
The police, clearly irritated with this ‘drunk’ mom who they had already put into an ambulance earlier in the night (wait, what? when? how did we get out? they let us leave?). I kept slurring, ‘I’ve been drugged,’ but I could offer no proof so I was dealt with and shamed.
My husband was awoken with the call all parents fear, only it was his wife who was ‘drunk’, disoriented and in police custody. He paid for an Uber and arranged for the kind, woman manager at the hotel let me into my room. She helped clean me up (I’ll spare you the details of all the fluids covering my body, but let’s just say that blood and vomit were the most appealing) and called my husband to let him know I was safe. An angel.
It was almost 3:00 p.m. the following day before James was able to contact my husband. For nearly 12 hours, I didn’t know if he was safe. He did not know my fate either. It was hell.
Relief does not begin to describe what I felt upon hearing James was safe. It was a wash of intense gratitude. As long as we were both safe, nothing else mattered. A Good Samaritan came to his rescue and had given him a ride back to his hotel.
An old family friend, the brother of one of my dearest friends, came in from Maryland to get me. Another godsend.
Next, we both had the hurdle of boarding planes without identification. The compassion and respect shown to me by the TSA will not be forgotten.
I don’t think it ever once occurred to me that I would be drugged in a bar. I am a 51-year-old wife and mother of four. James, a street-smart kid who grew up in Chicago didn’t either.
The ‘date rape drug’ has come of age. No longer limited to college towns, Roofies make robbery a charm. Male or female, young or old, you can be robbed, your passwords extracted, your identity stolen, your life put in danger or worse, lost.
Please be diligent.
We never left our drinks, but they were not in our hands and covered the whole time. The bar was crowded. We weren’t paying attention.
I am humbled by the compassion and love given to us by strangers. Mr. Rogers was right about when things are ‘scary’. He said, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
Editor’s note: T-Ann is an Authenticy Coach for career professionals who lives in Lake Forest with her husband and four kids. You can contact her at t-annpierce.com.